Oregon is home to four of the seven wild culinary truffle species native to North America, which at some point acquired a reputation as a second-rate talent compared to the prized European varieties. For the April issue of WSJ. Magazine, I went into the Oregon woods with a bilingual truffle-hunting dog named Tom, and wrote about the effort to rehabilitate the stature of American truffles.
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Two years ago this month, I volunteered to be a test subject in an Imperial College of London research study exploring the brain effects of psilocybin. I was dosed intravenously with the drug, and then monitored, as I sat tripping under an MEG scanner, at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre in Wales. That study is now out, in the Journal of Neuroscience. Essentially, the researchers discovered that psilocybin’s effect is to disrupt the normal, regularly timed firing of neurons in the brain’s posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). This is usually a very ordered and organized activity, but under the drug, becomes disorderedly and chaotic; neurons fire willy-nilly. It would seem that our very notion of a self hinges on the timing of neurons: mess with their routine, the ego dissolves, and, suddenly, all appears one in the universe….
In the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Men’s Fitness, I wrote a feature about the commingling of endurance sports and business networking in Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area’s particular breed of hyperfit tech entrepreneurs.
In this weekend’s (Dec. 22) New York Times Travel section, I wrote (and shot) the cover story about a ski trip to Russia, to the new resorts built near Sochi, the site of the coming Winter Games.
I also paid tribute to my grandfather Irv Isaacson, who lived in Denver, built the first ski lodge at Winter Park, Colo., was a great lover and champion of the sport, and created ski art and souvenirs.
Until then, skiers mainly collected patches and pins of ski areas like Aspen and Stowe. Irv was one of the first to take these souvenirs further, turning out high-quality mugs, shot glasses, brandy snifters, champagne flutes, ashtrays and beer mugs bearing resort names and logos – the sort of branded keepsakes that are ubiquitous today. The posters he designed were satirical, poking fun at the sport’s elitism and cultural stereotypes:
Last year, I traveled to Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong Hill Tracts) Peru (Lima, Amazon), Fiji, Kenya and Indonesia on behalf of the Disability Rights Fund, an organization that supports Disabled Persons Organizations in the developing world that advocate for the human rights of persons with disabilities.
You can view it here. Here are some additional photos from my reporting:
Bill Gates is paying big for better contraception. For The New Republic, I wrote about what scientists have come up with.
Last summer, I visited Croatia for the Wall Street Journal Magazine to profile 25-year-old prodigy Mate Rimac, who has built the fastest electric car in the world. Now his innovative designs are being licensed by manufacturers building the next generation of supercars. Read about it in the November 2013 issue of WSJ. Also shot this cover portrait:
A piece online at The New Yorker: Last year, an unusual Wyoming real-estate deal made international headlines: the tiny town of Buford, population one, had been purchased by an anonymous Vietnamese businessman. What did the buyer want with an exit off the interstate containing little more than a trading post and a pair of gas pumps? It was unclear; the businessman flew back to Vietnam without saying, and, until Tuesday, there had been little news from Buford….
I wrote and photographed a feature in the Sept 2013 issue of Popular Science. World War II combat pilots have been lost at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean for nearly 70 years. Last March, in Palau, I joined a group of engineers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and amateur marine archeologists from the Bent Prop Project, as they deployed autonomous robots to find them.
On The New Yorker’s Elements blog, I have a piece about a NASA experiment on the flanks of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, to test different cooking methods for Mars habitation.
I shot and wrote the feature in this month’s issue of United’s in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, about aÂ controversialÂ character in the Peruvian desert who is trying to defend the world’s largest trove of marine fossils from commercial scavengers.
Spent the day with the climbers who clean wind turbines, for this text/photo feature in the March/April 2013 issue of Sierra.
In the March 2013 Interior Design issue of Dwell magazine, I profiled San FranciscoÂ modern architect Abigail Turin.
250 young Bay Area professionals walk into a bar, surrender their phones, and try to hang on….
In the NYT Sunday Styles section.
I covered an intimate and very interesting event in San Francisco on Friday — the Freedom Forum — which brought together Burmese opposition leaderÂ Aung San Suu Kyi and various inspiring activists from around the world. Here at The Daily Beast.
Wrote a short piece, with pictures, in today’s Science Times, about a magnificent Buddhist capital, Bagan, in Myanmar, and how the country’s recent political changes is/will affect cultural heritage and archaeology.
Your way into my cover story in this weekend’s Travel section might be RVs, road trips, The Greatest RV Rally in the World, doggie swimsuit competition, retired people, redwoods, hot springs, or Paul Bunyan. Any which way, there’s something for everyone.
This lengthy piece was a labor of love, a two-year process from assignment (originally for The New York Times Magazine) to its birth (at The Atlantic). For various reasons, it turns out that it’s hard to get a story published in mainstream American media that goes deep into sex, design, engineering, medical history, and pop culture. I’m delighted it found a great home.
Last December, while in Kenya on a photo project about the global disability rights movement, I met Nirvan Mullick, a filmmaker and digital media producer from Los Angeles. We were both attending this gathering of African disabled youth leaders. Over lunch one day, he mentioned a project he was involved with back home about a 9-year-old kid who made an arcade from cardboard in his dad’s used auto parts store. Fast forward five months: “Caine’s Arcade” hit the web, and went viral.
I caught up with Mullick and Caine in San Francisco last weekend and filed this story.
PiscoÂ is a spirit made from a single distillation of young wine. ItÂ has been made in the dry coastal valleys of southern Peru since at least the early 17th century. It is enjoying a renaissance in Peru. Read on (or look at the pictures)….
This week, the film director and explorer James Cameron became the first human to travel on his own to the worldâ€™s deepest abyss, the Challenger Deep. He’s not the only one to have that dream; but he’s the first to make it there alone. In this post at the NY Times, I write about the guy that almost beat him to it.
My piece for Wired News on Summit Series, an impressive conference described byÂ one venture capitalist in attendance asÂ â€œa young TED meets Burning Man.â€
“On a recent weekend, Barack Obamaâ€™s chief technology strategist, a prominent conservationist, and a supernatural mentalist â€” a professional mind reader â€” walked into a California ski lodge…”
Ever wondered why you almost never hear women doing the voiceovers for movie trailers? Not sure why I did, but I found some interesting research behind how audiences react differently to men’s and women’s voices. FromÂ last Sundayâ€™s Arts & Leisure section:
â€œWhat gender is the voice of God? The question has been pondered by mystics through the ages, but in the sanctuary of cinema the voice of a sonorous, authoritative, fear-inspiring yet sometimes relatable presence is, invariably, that of a man. Consider the trailer and the omniscient, disembodied voice that introduces moviegoers to a fictional world….â€
I’ve got a piece in today’s Sports section on Egyptian dominance in the sport of squash.
â€œIn Egypt we donâ€™t obey rules as the English, or Germans, or in the States,” said Ramy Ashour, the former world champion. “This helps us in squash.”
Nevadaâ€™s high northeastern desert, there are 200,000 skiable acres and several summits that top 11,000 feet, and a small heliski operation that has wielded a monopoly on dumps in this remote range for 34 years
Here’s my piece in the December issue of Skiing Magazine.